Saturday, October 4, 2008

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder Review

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder returns the series to its action/war roots (after a diversion into horror in the first sequel) as Casper Van Dien returns as Johnny Rico back to kill more bugs. Jolene Blalock also stars.

- It sure is nice to have Casper Van Dien back as Johnny Rico and I like that they've (somewhat) logically aged the character since the first movie's events. Van Dien is easily the best part of the movie.
- The story itself is silly but it's better to have the war against the bugs than the awful horror story of #2.

- It's really a backhanded compliment to say that Casper Van Dien is the best thing about this's never a good thing if Casper Van Dien is the best thing about your movie.
- Jolene Blalock and all the supporting actors for that matter are simply terrible.
- Subtlety is not something one would often accuse Starship Troopers 1 director Paul Verhoeven of being good at, but Edward Neumeier (who wrote and directed this one) makes Verhoeven seem to have a master's touch. The film's politics are so blatant, and out of place, that it's hard to be anything but disappointed. The Federal Network 'news segments' intercut during the original film are the best parts of the movie, here they're nearly intolerable as Neumeier beats you over the head with his agenda.

- The original Starship Troopers is one of my all time favorite guilty pleasure movies (and I really don't think it's anywhere near as bad as its reputation) so I'm really disappointed at how this one turned out. The first sequel turned its back on the first film's formula, embracing a silly horror movie-esque scenario, and it turned out terribly. I was sadly disappointed that this 'return to form' failed to recapture really any of the magic of the first film. I can't really recommend this at all.

Overall Score: 3/10

Journey to the Center of the Earth Review

Journey to the Center of the Earth is the newest adaptation of the famed Jules Verne novel, this time in 3D. It stars Brendan Fraser as a man searching for his brother, Josh Hutcherson as Fraser's nephew and Anita Briem as their tour guide.

- The movie has a great and enjoyable sense of energy and wonder. It's really a theme park ride expanded to full feature length.
- Special effect guru Eric Brevig's touch at director allows the movie to embrace silly VFX to a surprisingly enjoyable effect.
- Fraser, perpetually exuberant and youthful, is the perfect lead for a somewhat absurd story like this.
- This movie has given me faith that 3D is viable. The Real3D system (which uses 3D glasses that aren't uncomfortable to wear) is far more effective than the mediocre displays of the past. The 3D here, though gimmicky, makes the whole experience so much more fun. Dinosaurs, mutant venus fly traps, rocks that float on air and lava explosions are all more fun in 3D.

- While it's nice to see someone try to come up with a 'new' take on Journey to the Center of the Earth, the notion of Vernians (yes, people who follow the writings of Jules Verne as true) is pretty silly.
- The screenplay is mediocre and the supporting performances are nothing to write home about.
- I can't imagine this would have been half as enjoyable in 2D.

- It's not a 'good' movie, but I found Journey to the Center of the Earth perfectly enjoyable. It's also a nice showcase for the future of 3D.

Overall Score: 6/10